On 4 May, Amsterdam joins the rest of the Netherlands in commemorating the civilians and members of the armed forces who have died in war and peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II. During the Remembrance of the Dead, people all over the country observe two minutes of silence at 20:00.
The Remembrance of the Dead ceremony was held for the first time on Dam Square in 1945. The King and Queen walk through a veterans’ guard of honour to the monument on Dam Square to lay a wreath on behalf of the citizens of the Netherlands. At 20:00 the nation observes a two-minute silence. The flags around Dam Square and in the rest of the Netherlands fly at half mast from 18:00 to sunset on Remembrance Day. Everyone is welcome at the remembrance ceremony on Dam Square.
During Remembrance Day, there are a wide range of activities in Amsterdam to keep alive the memories of World War II. As well as the National Remembrance of the Dead ceremony on Dam Square, some 40 other ceremonies will take place in different neighbourhoods of Amsterdam. Dozens of events will be organised by neighbourhood committees and civil society organisations. On the morning of 4 May, a municipal remembrance ceremony will take place at De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery. There is also an annual ceremony at the Homomonument, near the Westerkerk.
On 4 May, Amsterdam joins the rest of the Netherlands in commemorating the civilians and members of the armed forces who have died in war and peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II. On 4 May 2017, it is 72 years ago that the war ended in The Netherlands. On this day, Mayor Eberhard van der Laan will lead hundreds of people in a silent march through the heart of the city to the National Commemoration at Dam Square, departing from the Stadhuisplein at 18:00. During the Remembrance of the Dead, people all over the country observe two minutes of silence at 20:00. Everyone is welcome to join the silent march and commemoration. At Dam Square, the King, politicians, and children will lay flowers at the National Monument.
Theater Na de Dam
The National Remembrance of the Dead on 4 May on Dam Square will be followed at 21:00 by Theatre Na de Dam ('Theatre after the Dam'), with performances inspired by World War II at more than 20 different locations in Amsterdam. There will also be a range of remembrance concerts, for example at Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ and the Royal Concertgebouw. Please note that much of the spoken word content takes place in Dutch. You can find the complete programme on the Theater Na de Dam website.
Open Jewish Homes and Houses of Resistance
On both Remembrance Day and Liberation Day, intimate memorial services will take place in the living rooms, attics or cafés of former Jewish residents and members of the resistance. During Open Jewish Homes, speakers will tell the story of life before, during and after the war, persecution, resistance and liberation. The stories will be accompanied by film, music, poetry, photos and diary excerpts. Information about the programme can be found on the Open Jewish Homes website.
On 5 May, all of the Netherlands will pause to commemorate the country’s liberation. The German army surrendered on this day in 1945, bringing the Second World War to an end for the Netherlands. Since then, the Netherlands has strived to be the capital of freedom, independence and tolerance. To celebrate its continual liberation and societal freedoms, various activities and events are planned throughout the city.
Celebrate freedom together, and join or help cook one of the Freedom Meals (Vrijheidsmaaltijd)! Everyone is welcome this day to participate in the Freedom Meals organised all around the city. You can look forward to intimate and grand meals in community centres, parks and living rooms or on streets or squares. For an overview of the Freedom Meals, click here.
The Liberation Festivals taking place across the country are a highlight of Liberation Day. The festivals will have extensive musical programmes and big-name acts relating to the theme of freedom. At various spots in the city, Dutch bands and international musicians and DJs will perform live.
For more information on Liberation Festivals, click here.
You can find an overview of the events here.